Here's what we know to be true:
We all long to be loved.
But did you know that the love we have in our lives is a direct reflection of the love we have for ourselves?
So this Valentine's Day, we want to talk about self-love, because it's the key to experiencing the love we desire.
We all know we should love ourselves, but how exactly do we do that?
So many of us learned to only love certain parts of ourselves, but not other parts - the parts we were taught are not worthy of love.
But truly loving ourselves means opening our hearts to all parts of ourselves, even the parts we judge.
The parts that are. . .
Love doesn't discriminate, judge, condemn, push away or try to get rid of. Love EMBRACES it all.
Love says to the part inside that's insecure. . .
"Oh, sweetheart. Come here, let me hold you. I love you so much, exactly as you are. You're perfect in my eyes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You don't even need to feel confident right now or be any different than you are for me to love you. You are lovable just as you are."
To the part inside that's afraid. . .
"What's that, my love? You're scared? Oh my darling, tell me all about it. What are you afraid of? Just sit with me and tell me all of your worries and fears. I love you so much and I'm here for you."
To the inner people-pleaser. . .
"Oh, honey. I so get that you're just trying to prove that you're lovable and worthy by making everybody happy. You're just trying to get your needs met and take care of yourself, and it's so innocent, my love. You're not bad or broken. You're just doing the best you know how to feel loved and worthy and it's okay, it's really okay. I feel so much love and compassion for you my sweet, sweet love. It's okay if you don't believe this right now, but I want you to know that you're so loved - even if you say no and disappoint people. I love you so much, and trust me, you could never be unlovable or unworthy. It's just not possible."
Our teachers, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick taught us that "Healing is the application of Loving to the parts inside that hurt."
When we meet any feeling or pattern that arises with love and compassion, it softens and lets go. Judgement locks it in place, but love dissolves it. Love is the medicine; it's what alchemizes darkness into light.
And here's the irony: As these parts dissolve into the loving of our own hearts, we wake up to our inherent enoughness and wholeness. We feel the peace, love, confidence and trust that is our true essence.
Self-love is not about getting rid of the parts of ourselves we don't like so that we can become some idealized version of ourselves. It's about suspending judgement of these parts and offering them acceptance, love and compassion - without any conditions.
All of our relationships are a mirror of the relationship we have with ourselves. They reflect back to us the way in which we inwardly relate to all of the different parts of ourselves.
So as an experiment, see what happens when you lovingly embrace the parts of yourself you might judge or hate. You might just find the love you've been seeking you're entire life. . . and your relationships reflecting that love right back.